Improving the road 

My little paradise had an old internal dirt road, but it was eroded, overgrown, and being just dirt, it would become unusable as soon as it rains - and it usually rains here! So it had to be improved.

This is how the road looked before work started. Lots of branches and even many entire trees fell across the road, because of the unusually heavy snowing this winter.

I first went to work with just a hacksaw and muscle power. This is the result.

But of course I can't build a road just on muscle power. So I hired the service of a roadbuilding contractor. Very enthusiastic, he came in the same day to bring the first truckload of gravel - and slipped off the road. Here he is dumping the cargo, under very risky conditions.

Even empty, the truck couldn't get out on its own, in this muddy, soft soil. A large 4WD tractor had to come to rescue the truck.

Machinery starts arriving. Here comes an ages old front loader. A steep road crossing in the vicinity serves as discharge ramp.

A motor grader came on its own wheels. The driver went to work without as much as asking where he had to work, and promptly tried to drive over the old bridge! This bridge was built for 4 tons. The motor grader weighs 22 tons. Here is the result.

Using a hydraulic jack, the machine was gradually raised, and the creek was filled with firewood, until the machine rested even again and could drive out of the bridge, fully demolishing it in the process.

It was decided to build the new bridge from corrugated steel tubes, with gravel cover. Here is the truck with the material. 

The tubes are assembled and ready to be thrown into the creek.

Meanwhile, the retroexcavator removes the sad remains of the old bridge from the creek.

The bridge is dead, long live the bridge! Two more truckloads of gravel will complete it.

A retroexcavator is a very versatile machine. Here it is reformatting the road on a slope too steep for the motor grader to climb. We are doing our best to avoid damage to the trees as much as possible. This crooked, half dead Avellano tree poses special problems, but with some goodwill the machine can work around and under it.

Further up the hill, the terrain is flat enough for the machine to bulldoze. This method is much faster.


After the road had been formatted, for the first time ever I could drive my car up to the place where my house will be built!

Unfortunately it rained again after this, and very much. I had to drive down while I could. The roadbuilding work rested for about a week, until the rain was over and the road had re-solidified a bit. Then the graveling work started.

This is where the material for my road is coming from. The quarry is located about 11km away from my place. The material is taken just as it comes from there, without any processing of any sort. It's a mix of stones of different sizes, coarse sand, and clay.  

On the flat parts of the road, gravelling is easy. But uphill in very soft, wet, muddy terrain, it's a different matter!

Dumping gravel under thick forest can be a bit of a problem.

The truck also had trouble passing some Notro trees, which were bending over the road. The driver wanted to cut them down. But behind them there were only some old, dead trees, and open land! No way. I bent them back with my car's winch, and tied them into position using some wire. Six trees saved. 

And then, there is the old, bent Avellano tree which I'm trying to save. So far, the truck just barely passes beneath it. When this part of the road gets gravel too, thight maneuvering will be required.

But the truck driver needed a place where to turn around the truck. I had to allow him leveling an area for that purpose. The area chosen had no large trees. The front loader had been sitting unused for some weeks, and grass was growing through its openings.

Birds had started building a nest under the dashboard.

You might not believe how complicate it is to start a fourty year old front loader!

But than, it ran, and did its work.

At this point, almost half of the road has gotten its gravel cover. But the soil is so soft that the heavy truck sinks in anyway. Here is a closeup of one truck trail. More gravel is still needed here.

And then it rained again, and I had to build levees and evacuation channels with my tiny camping shovel, while the roadbuilders had holidays...

Then the work continued, soon finishing the steepest part of the road. The look of this photo is a bit misleading! The slope on this stretch is 16%!

Finally the truck reaches the open area which will be my home!

The road is ready, homebuilding can finally begin!

Back to Implementing my paradise.